13th – 19th November 2017 is Self Care Week in the UK. It may not be marked internationally but it’s good way to bring awareness to the importance of looking after yourself. This year the theme is ‘Embracing Self Care for Life’, it hopes to inspire us to make positive changes to our lifestyle that we can maintain over time.
Self care is simply that: caring for yourself. Keeping fit and healthy, knowing when to get professional help and support, and avoiding high levels of stress and burn out. For those living with chronic illness or disability, it may be about managing that condition better.
This all may seem straight forward but as parents and caregivers we often neglect our own needs. It’s easy to get swept up in daily routines, work, childcare, sleepless nights and not recognise how our own comfort levels are compromised.
Be Self Aware
Often people come to a breaking point because they haven’t been paying attention to their own body and mind. There’s many a time I’ve begun to feel tired and agitated and realised I’m in need of food and drink! It’s easy to skip meals and not drink enough fluids, especially in this heat!
Know what self care looks like for you. What do you enjoy? Is your idea of a break a fun night out with friends or is it some quiet time on your own? Are you missing out on being creative or is it your spirituality that needs attention? Whatever it is, working out what you need to nourish your wellbeing is important.
Ask yourself this simple question: What do you need right now?
Look After Your Health
Physical health, mental health, nutrition and fitness. Sometimes that seems like a chore but the healthier we are, the more equipped we are to deal with life’s challenges.
- Get active in a way that appeals to you. If you don’t enjoy it, you wont stick to it. It took me a long time to realise a gym membership is wasted on me as I just don’t enjoy it, but the group and social dynamic of a community exercise class is more likely to see me committed.
- Try to eat well where possible. Plan ahead so you know what you need for the week and how much time you will have to prepare meals. This helps you to avoid fast food and unhealthy snacks.
- Check out any worrying symptoms, visit your doctor if you have questions or concerns. Rest if you need to. Colds, flu and bugs don’t disappear, if you begin to feel run down stop, slow down and look after yourself.
- Think of your mental health in the same way as your physical health. Try and reduce stress, know your triggers for feeling in an anxious or low mood, talk to people about how you feel and seek help if needed.
Try Something New
Make time to try something new or engage in a favourite hobby whenever possible. It helps you to connect with yourself and separates you from your role as a carer.
Go somewhere different as a family, try a new hobby or sport activity, arrange to meet people you don’t know so well, cook a new recipe, get creative and make something. You never know what hidden talents you may unearth!
Foster Positive Relationships
Spend time connecting with people. Go beyond sending a quick message or checking Facebook and think about how you can invest in your relationships. Whether it be with your partner, children, friends or family, relationships need work and they are generally the first thing to be affected when you are busy.
If you are looking for ideas for family days out, date nights or some fun with friends, check out Events Botswana to see what’s on. https://www.events.co.bw/
It’s important to get professional help when you feel your physical or mental health is becoming unmanageable or deteriorating.
If you are an expectant or new parent, why not visit one of SensoBaby’s Cuppa Love events, run by trained professionals and a lovely way to meet other parents, share concerns or challenges and receive some love yourself. Details can be found on their website: http://www.sensobaby.co.bw/cuppa-love
For more information and resources visit the UK website: http://www.selfcareforum.org/events/self-care-week-resources/
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